EAST LANSING, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – She was the face of Michigan State basketball this past season — and now, the family of 8-year-old Lacey Holsworth of St. Johns, the girl who befriended Spartan basketball star Adreian Payne, is asking that people attending her memorial service next week to wear bright colors and smiles in celebration of her life.

“She has been an inspiration to all of us; her message that should be sent is, don’t ever give up on anything – when you face some tough times like all of us will, make sure that you just keep fightin’ through it,” said Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo. “This little tiny girl, she wasn’t that big, she wasn’t that strong. But she sure was powerful, wasn’t she?”

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“Her dad told me that when she came back, she said, ‘Dad, I’m tired, it’s time to go home’ … I think that’s home,” Izzo said through tears.

Izzo was among those who honored Lacey’s memory during a rally on the MSU campus following her death Tuesday from cancer.

The little girl affectionately known as “Princess Lacey,” had neuroblastoma, a nerve-cell cancer. She wore a blond wig because chemotherapy took her hair.

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Lacey met Payne during one of her hospital stays two years ago, and their friendship quickly blossomed. She became a valued member of the Spartan family.


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Doors will open at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Breslin Center on the school’s campus in East Lansing.

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The service starts at 6:30 p.m. and parking is free.